Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN
Tel: 020 7101 3377

Abnormal liver enzymes

Abnormal liver enzymes

The pre­sence of abnormal liver e­nzymes in a blood test signifies that the­ liver is under stress or e­xperiencing damage, impacting its ability to function corre­ctly. The liver enzyme­s most frequently evaluate­d are Alanine Transaminase (ALT), Aspartate­ Transaminase (AST), Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), and Gamma-glutamyl Transfe­rase (GGT). Elevated le­vels of these e­nzymes indicate the pre­sence of inflammation, injury, or liver dise­ases. Elevated ALT and AST le­vels suggest liver ce­ll injury or death. Increased ALP le­vels may indicate bile duct obstruction or ce­rtain bone disorders. Elevate­d GGT levels are associate­d with alcohol consumption, liver disease, or bile­ duct obstruction

Causes of Abnormal Liver Enzymes

Several conditions and factors can lead to elevated liver enzymes, including but not limited to:

  • Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Accumulation of fat in liver cells, leading to inflammation and damage.
  • Viral Hepatitis: Infections such as hepatitis A, B, and C can cause liver inflammation and elevate enzyme levels.
  • Medications and Toxins: Certain prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and substances like alcohol can cause liver damage.
  • Autoimmune Liver Diseases: Conditions where the immune system attacks the liver, including autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
  • Metabolic Disorders: Such as hemochromatosis (excess iron storage) and Wilson’s disease (excess copper storage).
  • Liver Cirrhosis: Advanced scarring of the liver due to various liver diseases.
  • Bile Duct Obstructions: Blockages in the ducts that carry bile from the liver can lead to increased ALP levels.
  • Liver Cancer: Primary or metastatic liver cancer can affect liver enzyme levels.


Many individuals with elevated liver enzymes do not exhibit symptoms, especially in the early stages of liver disease. When symptoms do appear, they may include fatigue, weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, light-colored stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itching.


In addition to liver enzyme tests, healthcare providers may use other tests to diagnose the underlying cause of the abnormal results, including:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): To assess overall health and detect signs of infection.
  • Imaging Tests: Such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI to visualize the liver and detect abnormalities like fatty liver, tumors, or cysts.
  • Liver Biopsy: To evaluate the extent of liver damage and inflammation by examining a small tissue sample under a microscope.
  • Viral Hepatitis Tests: To check for hepatitis infections.
  • Autoantibody Tests: To identify autoimmune liver diseases.


Treatment for abnormal liver enzymes focuses on addressing the underlying cause:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Reducing alcohol consumption, losing weight, and adopting a healthy diet can help manage liver diseases like fatty liver disease.
  • Medication Adjustments: Changing or discontinuing medications that may be causing liver damage, under medical supervision.
  • Treating Infections: Using antiviral or antibiotic medications to treat viral or bacterial infections affecting the liver.
  • Managing Chronic Conditions: Controlling conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol, which can contribute to liver problems.
  • Autoimmune Treatments: Immunosuppressive drugs may be used for autoimmune liver diseases.

It’s essential for individuals with abnormal liver enzyme levels to work closely with their healthcare provider to determine the cause and appropriate treatment plan. Regular monitoring and lifestyle adjustments play a crucial role in managing liver health and preventing further damage.

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Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN

Telephone020 7101 3377